CENTURIAN – The sky is the limit now
When Rob Oorthuis was working together with drummer Bob Dussel on the bandproject Nox and they’ve just released their only full length "Ixaxaar", Eternal Terror tried to set up an interview with Rob. Unfortunately, this could not be implemented at the time. But when Nox was put on ice in 2011 and Centurian re-emerged with a new album earlier this year, a new interview opportunity turned up and finally it could happen. So, here it is. Rob Oorthuis is talking willingly about the new album, the story around Centurian/Nox/Centurian and a bit about how he discovered metal.
First of all, congrats with a great album in "Contra Rationem". This is your first release since reforming Centurian. Can you take us through the writing process? When did you realize that the new material fitted Centurian more than Nox?
As always, I wrote all music at home. Together with Seth I worked out the songs in a rehearsalroom to make the songs ‘work’. As soon as we started working on new material we noticed a shift in sound and feeling. It has alot to do with the fact I am working with a different drummer. Bob (Dussel, original Nox drummer) has a blackmetal background and loves to play long blastbeats, whereas Seth likes to incorporate groove and dynamics. I tend to adjust my music to the drummer I work with. I’m always searching for some kind of chemistry with the people I work with. So when a line up changes, the chemistry changes, and when the chemistry changes, a bandname can change (back).
What about in the studio? Did everything go smooth?
We never recorded so easily. Most songs you hear on the record are one-takers. We prepared ourselves really well, leaving nothing to the unforeseen. The studio was cheap and shabby, actually it wasn’t even a studio, but the atmosphere was great. It’s located in this old building in my hometown where all kinds of artists have working spaces.
Thinking of the 2 first Centurian albums, how would you describe "Contra Rationem"?
Compared to the first two records, "CR" is way more tight, contains way better songwriting, is way more focused and deadly. The thing is that we have the best band line up now, so I don’t need to worry about whether the other bandmembers can catch up with me or not. The sky is the limit now. I’m already working on new material that will be more weird and twisted.
The lyrics; when did you start your interest for Satanism and Occultism and where do you get most of your inspirations from when writing new lyrics? (books, movies etc)
I have been contemplating on death pretty much my whole life. At age 16 I started to comprehend a lot of things. It was around this time that I decided that, if there is a god that wants to fuck this world up as much as I do, I should shake hands with it. I draw inspiration from things I conceive in this life and beyond. Interesting reads are "Liber Falxifer" and Kenneth Grant’s "Hecate’s Fountain".
Are there any big differences between writing songs for Nox and Centurian?
The songs come naturally. However, I do bear in mind what kind of drummer I work with. Bob’s trademarks are the 4/4 lightspeed blastbeats and very detailed patterns, perfectly aligned with the guitars. But he is not a ‘catchy’ drummer, so I skipped most of the 3/4 rhythms. Now that I am working with Seth, I can use more different rhythms, thus making the music more allround.
Nox is official on hold. What does this practically mean for you? Is there any chance we will see a new Nox album?
Practically it means that I can focus on one band at the time. Running 2 bands would kill me. I never thought to ever release a Centurian album again. So when it comes to Nox, who knows?
Why not keep both bands running at the same time or just make one band out of it? The lineup is the same and the music is somewhat the same. Wouldn’t that be easier?
I understand your thoughts. The thing is that I have my principles. I never do things out of convenience. If I would, I would not be making deathmetal. Back in 2002, Centurian and Nox co-existed. Nox was based around Bob and me, it was a new band with a broader horizon than Centurian. That’s why I started Nox in the first place. When Centurian split up, I could have continued working under that name, which would have been easier, but I didn’t. Now that I don’t work with Bob anymore, it’s no use continuing Nox because he put a very distinct signature on Nox’ sound. Right now, I’m working with Seth on drums. His style has strong resemblances with the original Centurian sound.
Let’s go back to your youth. Do you remember when you started to like/listen to metal? What was the reason you got into it?
I simply wanted to get the heaviest music I could get my hands on. In 1991 I got a cassette with Obituary’s "Slowly We Rot". In that year I went to my first deathmetal show, it was a Morgoth, Sinister show. But what really got me into deathmetal was Deicide because of their attitude. Especially when I saw them in 1992, I had to have my own band.
What was the first metal album you bought for your own money? (Stealing doesn’t countJ)
It was a cd of Carcass’ "Symphonies of Sickness".
Would you say that this album or band have influenced you in any way when you joined your first band and started to write music on your own?
Not really. What really triggered me to form my own band was Deicide’s "Legion", because of the very direct and aggressive lyrics, and Morbid Angel’s "Covenant" because of the great songwriting.
Centurian was one of the pioneers of the second wave of death metal when you started back in the late 90’s and early 2000. How would you say the death metal scene have evolved during the years?
Deathmetal evolved into partymusic. Centurian is going to set that straight.
For most of the bands, metal have never been a huge source of income, but at least the bands sold a few CD’s back when you first started. How do you manage to cover your costs these days?
Do you think file sharing have destroyed one of the (major) sources to income for the band or do you see the positive aspect of it with a lot more people and fans having the opportunity to listen to your music?
We never had any significant income out of the music anyway, so for us there is no real difference. I think the internet is great because it provides great ways to promote your band.
Ok, let’s end it here. Do you have a favorite track on the new album?
My fave track is "Adversus". This song is the beginning of a new era.
Any famous last words to our readers?
Nothing is true, everything is permitted.